Hany N. Sadik 1 2/10/2009
Avery T. Willis, Jr.-The Biblical Basis of missions
Submitted by: Hany Nabil Sadik
Advisor: Dr. Samuel Galloza
Course: Introduction to missions (assignment A)
Submission date: 2/Oct./2009
This Book is not a theological text book about mission, but it is rather a doctrinal book which intends mainly to cause the reader to search his Bible to examine whether the teachings introduced in here about mission is lined with the Bible or not.
The author aims that every reader will be discovering his role in God‟s mission while reading his book.
The author Avery T. Wills was educated in Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist theological Seminary; he pastored Churches in Oklahoma, Texas, for ten years before being sent as a missionary to Indonesia for fourteen years.
Surely there are many misconceptions about missions, but there are two main misconceptions that are most disastrous:
a. First is that missions are the work of extraordinary Christians; who have special gifts.
b. Second is the substitutional evangelism principle; which means that some Christians depend on others to substitute them in the missionary field, while they just pray for them or support them.
Both of these misconceptions are wrong; as we read the Bible we discover from (1Cor.1:26-36); that God intends to use ordinary people to fulfill his missionary purpose, and also we can perceive that all Christians are obligated to evangelize every person in the world; it is not the work of some, but all Christians.
From the beginning; I would like to define some important terms that are used frequently in this book; like:
Mission: means the total restoration purpose of God to establish His kingdom.
Hany N. Sadik 2 2/10/2009
Missions: means the role of God‟s people (Church) to proclaim the kingdom of God to the nations. It must be clear that God is the sender of the mission not man, and the Church is sent by God on mission to send missionaries to cross natural and cultural borders carrying the gospel. Since God is the sender and the founder of missions, therefore missions must be based on divine principles from the Bible, not on the thoughts and principles of the Western culture.
Synopsis of the book
The main thesis of this book is that missions starts and end with God, throughout the ten chapters of the book; the author illustrated the different periods of the missions as a result of God‟s mission starting from Eden to Israel and then Jesus, his Church till the accomplishment of God‟s mission in the last chapter of the book.
Chapter 1: Mission of God
Why is the world in this bad situation? Is it God‟s will or what? And why it needs God‟s mission?
The greatness of God‟s mission is understood when we look at three main natures of God, man, and of Satan.
The nature of God
a. powerful: God is infinitely powerful; he created heavens with all its huge galaxies and magnificent stars ,and he created the earth with all its different creatures, therefore what mass in the worlds is not because any lack of power on God‟s part (Ps. 19), (Isa. 40: 12).
b. loving: God loves man; we know this from the first two chapters of Genesis as we read that he created him in his own image and trusted him by giving him dominion over all His own creation (Gen. 1: 26- 27). Surly it is not because of the lack of love on God‟s part that the world in this bad situation.
c. purposeful: God created the universe with a purpose see (Ps. 33: 4- 6, 10- 11 and Ps. 19: 1), and this purpose is good (see Gen. 1: 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) therefore it was not a lake of God‟s purpose that caused the problems of the world.
The nature of man
Man was created in the image of God and that means that he can think choose and have relationships, but on the other hands he was limited to time and space.
The fact that man is a relational creature clears to him that he is different from other creation for he can do things other creatures cannot do, and he discovered that he can be in relationship with God.
Man‟s limitation was not and evil thing in itself, actually it helped him to depend on God, but man decided not to depend on God but on himself he decided to be his own master and this decision caused his relationship with God to be destroyed, and his moral nature to be corrupted, and even his relationship with his fellowman was corrupted.
After man had taken this decision he was punished by the penalty of death and he was also subjected to the authority of Satan. At this point we come to a more clear understanding of God‟s mission for God choose to limit himself to a certain degree to give man the freedom to choose and to let him face the consequences of his choice, therefore the mass in the world that we see today is because of God‟s will to limit himself for man‟s sake, and God‟s mission is to restore man‟s original nature and this subsequently restore His relationship with man.
The nature of evil
Another aspect which greatly affects the mission of God; it is the nature of Satan.
When man sinned he was tempted by Satan, and this caused Satan’s evil power and authority to be loosed in earth.
God is trying to restore His kingdom here in earth, He could even have created a new earth, but he had chosen to limit His power in this conflict between him and Satan in earth and this is for the sake of man; because God did not give up hope for man, actually He wants man to participate in restoring God‟s kingdom by man‟s own free will and choice.
Finally after understanding the three natures of God, Man and Satan we can easily perceive that the world‟s situation is in need of God‟s mission to be carried out.
The nature of the Mission
The mission is God‟s mission and that means we do not decide to do it, but we participate in it according to God‟s own will.
God has three main purposes of His mission; we got to realize them while working with him in the mission, and they are as follows:
1. To bring glory to God.
2. To share the good news with the alienated.
3. To display the wisdom of God to the evil powers (Eph. 3:10).
Chapter 2: Mission of God’s People
God is sovereign; he can make anything he wants without the help of anyone, but as mentioned before he had chosen to limit himself and to reestablish His kingdom through the cooperation of man. Every time man failed, Satan and his angels thought that the battle is won, on the other hand God continued with His main purpose but with a different strategy.
God’s Election of a People
After the division of man‟s races at Babel; God decided to select an individual as His partner to reestablish His Kingdom, as we read (Gen. 12:1-3) we figure out this new strategy that God had chosen; He called Abraham as His chosen partner and promised him three things a people a land and a blessing1, God continued with this strategy with Abraham’s children Israel. By the time Israel lost their call as they stayed for a long time in Egypt in slavery; nevertheless, God remains faithful to His promises and acted on their behalf during the Exodus.
We arrive at a better understanding to God‟s new strategy after Babel’s division; he had elected Abraham and then Israel to bless the whole world. However God‟s election is not a purpose in itself; and it shouldn‟t be seen as an election of favoritism, because this view will result in pride and an anti-missionary attitude as what the extreme Calvinistic view suggest, but on the other hand it should be seen as responsibility and partnership with God to help in reestablishing His kingdom and conquering the kingdom of Satan. Christians are not elected because they are faithful or to enjoy their election, but they are elected to help God to elect others, it should be understood as a chain election process and we (Christians) are a part of it.
God’s Covenant with His People
From the reading of the history of God‟s people Israel in Exodus, we realize that election is not the consummation of God‟s purpose for after God elected Israel and lead them out of Egypt; He took them to Sinai to continue his loving covenant with them through his Law2 which he gave to them. Therefore election is completed by covenant, for after man is elected by God he live through life according to God‟s loving covenant; for the covenant proves that election is for service.
God‟s covenant always bears some kind of service and obedience from our side although Israel was not a good example for obedience, nevertheless, God used their disobedience to accomplish his purposes- thank God it doesn‟t depend on our goodness or faithfulness- also we Christians are God‟s selected people -as Israel was-; and he wanted us all to be involve in His service or in other language in reestablishing His kingdom.
God’s Role for His People
God intends to His people to be a disciplined people; God as the father of Israel was obligated to discipline them through obedience training and even punishment (see Deut. 7), but through their history they failed to be a disciplined nation they always disobeyed God and failed to understand the purpose of their election.
1 Jonathan Gibson, The Story of a Kingdom, http://www.ntslibrary.com/Christian-PDF-Books.htm, (Jonathan Gibson, 2005), P27
2 Ibid, P39
God punished Israel many times, but even after the their return from the Babylonian exile Israel did not submit to God‟s will and did not became a disciplined nation, and they continued till the time of Jesus to concentrate on themselves as God‟s elected and favored people without regarding their discipline responsibilities .
2-A Servant People
The servant role of the people of God can be understood by reading the four servant passages in Isaiah (42:1-7); (49:1-12), and (50:4-11) and (52:13 to 53:12).
After reading these passages we can figure out some important principles considering serving God, and they are:
1. Serving is not just for Israel; it is also for the sake to be a light to the nations of the world.
2. God‟s people as servants will be a covenant to the nations.
3. Suffering is the trademark of serving God as a holy nation of priests, and there is no way to serve without suffering.
Israel rejected the third serving principle of suffering, and even refused to accept Jesus because he was a suffering Messiah, while Jesus accepted to take to the back bone what His people had rejected.
We cannot say that Israel is our example of missionary people, because missions as known to us as proclaiming God‟s salvation to the nations was not God‟s purpose to Israel, nevertheless, God was preparing Israel in the Old Testament to a missionary purpose beyond their racial limitation, we can find some examples of this like Ruth and Rehab, but Israel did like Jonah and failed to accomplish God‟s will and she even resisted it.
Chapter 3: Mission of Christ
Jesus mission can be illustrated by explaining three key events about him and his ministry: the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection.
The incarnation is different from any human religious ideology; that tends to elevate man to the rank of God, but only the Bible introduces the Incarnation of God to be a man.
Only God can think of the incarnation; this is why it is a very strange principle to a Muslim or any other person from a non-Christian culture.
As we read the famous verses of (Phil. 2:6-8) which explains the incarnation of Jesus the son of God, we find in verse 7 that Jesus had “emptied himself” and this word in Greek means: „to make of no effect’ or in other words Jesus chosen to lay aside his divine powers and authority and glory and to face life as a man; he grew and lived like a man; even the Bible says that he learn as a son to obey the father (Heb 5:8).
In his incarnation Jesus fulfilled the servant role-mentioned in the previous chapter- which Israel failed to fulfill; he fulfilled the servant passages of Isaiah and accomplished the intention of the father in serving humanity; and gave us the perfect example of serving so that we can follow it.
The main passage of incarnation in Philippians 2 moves directly from the incarnation to the crucifixion of Jesus; or we can say that the crucifixion is the highest degree of incarnation.
Jesus obeyed the father to death; he overcame the physical horror of death and the satanic war by knowing his father‟s will and obeying it; so he walked in his way to the cross.
Jesus also fulfilled his priestly role that Israel failed to fulfill in two actions:
– His intercessory prayer at Gethsemane
– His death on the cross
In this priestly role Jesus represented man to God as a perfect faithful man, and God to man as a perfect loving God, His death was not only a passionate event but was an act of atonement (Rom 5:11); and this word means that Jesus death satisfied God‟s demands in man‟s behalf3 and therefore reconciled man to God (2Cor 5:19).
Satan and his angels must have been glad just after the death of Jesus, but the fact is that God has defeated Satan and his kingdom in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When Jesus rose from death; it was not only his body that rose but a new age had started in the history of humankind; a new creation had been created (2 Cor. 5:18).
The resurrection of Jesus is the standardization of the gospel because it is the good news of life and victory over sin death and Satan; this is why it was the most cardinal points in the apostolic testimony4 during the first century.
Our gospel is different from other religions which give unsecured and uncertain ideas about God and salvation, it is our duty therefore to proclaim the gospel and to declare; the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ the new king of humanity to every man.
3 M.G. Easton, Eastons Bible Dictionary, http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Eastons%20Bible%20Dictionary.pdf, (USA: AGES Software, 1996,1997 ), p113
4 R. A. Torrey, A. C. Dixon and others, THE FUNDAMENTALS-A TESTAMONY TO THE TRUTH, VOL.2, http://ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books%20II/Torrey%20-%20The%20Fundamentals%202.pdf, AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version1.0 , 2000, P.253
Chapter 4: Mission of the Holy Spirit
Although Christ had defeated Satan; why a lot of Christians today seem to face defeats and failures in life and ministry? And why Satan on the other hand seems to be successful in his evil plans?
The answer is the role of the Holy Spirit; for a lot of Christians act and minister as if the day of Pentecost had not happened; and as if the mission of God on earth can be accomplished by their human power without the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was sent to take the role of Jesus while he was on earth; He is not just an influence or power, but He is personal Deity5 as Jesus is, and He works through Christians by empowering, guiding and inspiring them in order to accomplish the mission of God.
The Inspirer of Missions
The Holy Spirit is the Inspirer of the missions; He inspired and inflamed the disciples at the Pentecost to a degree that made them witnessing to every person spontaneously out of pure overflowing love not out of obligation and obedience as we are doing today.
The Enpowerer of the Church
The disciples at Pentecost received a great power to minister and witness when the Holy Spirit filled them; they actually were deeply changed and they changed their world.
When Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit they will be able to do the work of God powerfully and effectively as the disciples did in the book of Acts; by the dynamic living power of the Holy Spirit not by any other weak ways of our modern days.
All Christians should realize that they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit continuously, it is not just a suggestion but it is a biblical apostolic command (Eph.5:18).
The Guide in Missions
The Holy Spirit is the missions administrator, who determines the courses of missions, when we read the book of Acts we figure out that role of the Holy Spirit, for many times the Holy Spirit interfered and changed the course of missions, like for instance what happened with Peter when the Holy Spirit led him to preach the word of God for the first time to Gentiles; an event that changed the course of the first century church‟s missions and its view of Gentiles.
Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit our missions will lose their courses and we will easily be defeated by Satan; for the Holy Spirit is our general in the battle between the two kingdoms, and no way will we attain victory over Satan’s army without our general.
5 Barry E. Horner, Bible 101 Introduction, http://www.ntslibrary.com/StudentMaster/introtobiblestudymethods.php, P.111.
Chapter 5: Co-mission of the Church
The Church is to live with two identities and between two realities; the two identities are:
– It is the chosen people of God to bless the world.
– It is the body of Christ that ought to fulfill His mission.
While the two realities are:
– The reality that it could fail as Israel had failed in accomplishing God‟s purpose.
– The reality that it could become the fullness of Christ (Eph.1:22).
The Church’s Possibilities and God’s Expectations
Although the Church today in many places in the world seems to be dead, since Pentecost, God has revealed the mystery of His church-to make of Jew and Gentiles a new creation in Christ Jesus (Eph. 3: 6). Since we have received the promises of God and in us all the families of the earth shall be blessed, we also must accept the responsibilities. To deny or to neglect these responsibilities puts us in the same position as Israel when she refused to be a nation of holy, servant-priests to the world6.
Many had given up hope for the Church because it did not function as Christ intended; God on the other hand still has many great hopes for His Church (Eph.1), it is God‟s inheritance, and Christ’s redeemed spotless bride (Eph. 5).
The Calvary Principle
It is the principle that every chosen Christian is a priest for God-just like Christ is-and as priests we are representatives of God to the world and representatives of men to God.
We are elected to bless the nations of the world by declaring the good news of salvation to them (1Pet.2:9), and to offer sacrifices of praise, thanks, and even our lives-just as Jesus said (Luke 9:23) – to Him who had elected us by grace.
The Incarnation Principle
The Church is called to be incarnated to the world like Christ her head; to give itself to the world, and to serve the world as He did.
We are not called to boast or to gain privileges and authority over people, but we are called to adopt the servant attitude of Jesus (Phil.2:4-11).
Many modern Christian leaders and missionaries think of the serving attitude as temporary lowering of themselves until they are exalted and become masters on earth, but actually the serving attitude is not a temporary one, it should be the Church‟s continuous attitude toward the world, which is amazed by this heavenly Christian serving.
The Resurrection Principle
When God created the world He was planning to rule over obedient people from Adam in Eden through to Israel’s exodus from Egypt; then the election of King David who from his seed ascend King Jesus, who came to rule with love.
6 Avery T. Willis, Jr., The Biblical Bases of missions, http://www.ntslibrary.com/StudentMaster/introtomissions.php, P29
As Christians children of God; we are obligated to proclaim the good news of the kingdom that Jesus has won victory over Satan; and that all things in this world are restored to God, we have to inherit what God gave us or otherwise we will be defeated by Satan if we stop proclaiming God‟s kingdom.
The early Church (see the book of Acts) had faced many obstacles -from outside and from inside- while proclaiming the good news, but every time they fled to God and sought his leadership, and he led them, and filled them with the Holy Spirit; therefore they gained victory over the kingdom of Satan, same to us today; as we face many of the same obstacles that they had faced we shall follow their example.
Chapter 6 -Discipling: Mandate to Mission
Jesus in His incarnation‟s days had used the strategy of selecting a few men, poured His life into them and disciplining them well in order that they can disciple other disciples and so on.
This disciple-making strategy was very successful during the first century in spreading the Gospel to the known world of those days, today we need to recover this disciple-making strategy, for it is the only multiplying way which can be successful in reaching our massively growing world with the Gospel of Jesus, also it is Jesus‟ way who intended that Christians become disciples not only converts.
If Jesus had a strategy to discipline the nations of the world, Satan on the other hand had a counter-strategy to spoil Jesus plans, his counter-plan can be stated briefly in the following four points:
1-he blinds men to the Gospel.
2-tempts new converts to keep them from obeying Christ and becoming disciples.
3-he convinces disciples that they will not reproduce disciples.
4-prevents disciple makers from training other disciple makers.
Four basic things one should do in order to be a better disciple for Jesus
1-follow Jesus, without focusing on Jesus and following his example in life and ministry, and regarding all his commandments, one will be living a wavering spiritual life.
2-be an apprentice, one should be linked with his Jesus.
3-be a learner, a disciple is always a learner.
4-be a representative, as Jesus was a perfect reprehensive of the father (John 5-7); his disciple should also follow his example, and takes responsibility of becoming His representative to the world.
If we are called to make disciples, we should follow Jesus’ method of making disciple, which can be explained with the following:
a. Model: Jesus taught what He did; He demonstrated what He was teaching to His disciples in His life and acts.
b. Selection: Jesus prayed to select His disciples.
c. Partnership: Jesus selected His disciples to be with him (Mark3:14), and He spent much time with them; pouring His life and experience in them, because he knew they are going to carry out the mission.
d. Life-situation learning: Jesus used life situations-like the young rich ruler who wanted to follow him- in order to teach his disciples lessons from life which are not forgettable.
e. Job related training: as we read in Matthew chapter10, how Jesus instructed His disciples before sending them on mission, then after they had returned he explained to them what He mostly wanted them to learn from that experience.
f. Global discipleship: Jesus had ordered His disciples in (Mat. 28) to go and make other disciples from all the nations of the world; it is not an option, but an order.
g. Reproducing Disciple-makers: from reading the story of Paul in the New Testament books; we can figure out how Barnabas disciplined him, in spite of the initial refuse of the Apostles, and how after that Paul himself disciplined others as Timothy to be a disciple-maker, Paul ordered him to do the same and reproduce disciple-makers as we read :” And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also”7(2Tim.2:2), actually continuous reproduction of disciple-makers is Jesus’ plan to save the world.
Chapter 7: Equipped for Mission
After Satan and his principalities had failed- in the first century- to conquer the apostolic Church by using their evil and violent strategy of persecution and killing, they (Satan and his principalities) changed their strategy to a crafty and successful one which can briefly be explained in the following two points:
– First, they worked on convincing the Christians that the ministry job; especially evangelizing and missionary are for special holy leaders and not for ordinary Christians
– Second, they worked on making Christianity respectable and honored in the world, which destroyed the distinctiveness of Christians from the world.
Satan’s strategy was greatly successful-during the dark centuries- for the idea of a special priesthood for the leaders, distinct from the body of the people passed from Jewish and pagan
7 Anonymous, The American Standard Version of the Holy Bible, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bible/asv.htm, (1901), P1766
religions into the Church8 , and even during the times of Reformation the Church was reformed in the topic of general priesthood concerning the believer relationship with God, but not concerning its ministry nature, even today we can see obviously that this strategy had greatly succeeded to change the nature of the Church ministry even in Baptist’s Churches.
The Biblical principle
The Church of Christ was designed not to contain a pastor who minister and do all the Church stuff, and all the other Christians to be audience, who watch, cheer and support, but as the Bible declare in (Eph.4:1-16) that God has appointed leaders (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelicals ,Pastors and Teachers) in the Church in order to equip or perfect the people of God so that they can do the work of ministry, it is our responsibility as Christians to do the work of ministry not our leaders‟, who are on the other hand responsible of equipping us to do the job.
This is the only way to minister the whole world for only when all Christians are involved in the work of ministry, and not only the leaders and the full time ministers-who cannot afford doing the job alone, but are responsible for training and equipping Christians for ministry- that the whole world can be reached with the word of God.
Chapter 8 – The People of God on Mission
When we read the following passages in the New Testament (Acts 18:18-21; 19:8-10;
20:17-35; Romans 16:3), we can figure out three main biblical principles of missions.
1. Every Believer is a Minister
The distinction between the clergy and laity, that had passed to our Churches, is far away from what the bible teaches, even the Greek meanings of the two words ( clergy: Kleros and laity: Loas) are used in the New Testament text to give the same meaning which is „the people of God’.
Some Christians think that the people in the Church should act as the pastor‟s assistances; who help him accomplishing his work of ministry, while the truth as we have stated before in the previous chapter is that they are called to perform and to accomplish the work of ministry, while the pastor and other leaders‟ job is to equip them to do the ministry.
Every Christian who is called for salvation is called also for ministry; this is the purpose of God, and as stated before that Jesus had called not just converts, but disciples who are able to follow and obey him and that for sure include life and ministry.
8 Philip Schaff, HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Vol.2, Ch.04, http://www.e-sword.net,(1883), Version 7.9.8, (2008).
2. Every Believer has a Spiritual Gift
A spiritual gift according to the Bible is an ability given by the Holy Spirit to a Christian in order to be manifested in the work of ministry, and that is for building the whole body of Christ and to serve other people. Every Christian is gifted with at least one or more spiritual gifts in order to use them in ministry.
Although we should distinguish between the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Corinth 12 and Corinth 14, and the Spiritual fruits of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5, but it should be noticed that spiritual gifts flourish in a life filled with spiritual fruits especially „Love’; see Corinth 13.
3. Every Believer Extends the Body to the World
For many years we were concerned about the sizes of the Church buildings and certain days and occasions; because we think this is the ways in which our Churches grow. This was not the case in the first century, actually first century Churches were held in homes not big public buildings; they were growing very fast though. In some regions in the world; home Church is the only way in which the Church can grow and multiply, like in the communist countries
In home Churches people are evangelized more easily, and enjoy a warm atmosphere without the ethnic and other difficulties that different groups may face in Church‟s public meetings.
Recently some countries have adopted the „home churches figure‟ of the first century again, and the results were very satisfying as the first century Church and even more in some countries such as in South Korea.
Chapter 9 – God’s Go-between
Although it is obvious in the Bible that Christ had conquered Satan and all his evil principalities and powers, the spiritual battle is not finished here on earth between Satan and the body of Christ which is His Church (Eph.6:12).
The Church is at war with Satan and his principalities, and no victory for us without the aid of the only one that can overcome Satan and that of course is God. That is one of the reasons that makes praying to God is one of the most important weapons in this war.
Purpose of prayer in Missions
The main purpose of intercessory prayer is to overcome evil spirits and principalities in prayer first before obtaining a field victory (Dan.10).
Prayer is not involving God in our mission but vise verse, we are to discover God‟s will and to pray according to His will and purpose in order that our prayers to be answered.
Power of praying according to God’s will
To discover God‟s will we must search His word and to submit to the Holy Spirit as our guidance, one very important passage is the Lord‟s intercessory Prayer in (John 17). It shows that we must pray for the disciples and ministers more than praying for the world just as Jesus prayed.
Position of the intercessor
Intercessors are functioning somehow like Old Testament‟s priests for they are to represent people in front of God in prayer, same as Jesus did when he died for us on the cross and as he is doing now in heaven (Heb.8:1).
Plan for Intercession
When we read (Eph.6:10-18); we realize that the apostle argue Christians to use the spiritual armor in their prayer wars.
The spiritual armor is essential in standing against Satan in prayer, because Satan uses his tricks to attack Christians even in prayer.
Parts of the Armor and their relations to prayer:
a. The Helmet of Salvation: it secure the mind and thoughts from the attacks of Satan. Christ and his blood is the only base of our right to attend to God in prayer.
b. The Breastplate of righteousness: it protect our heart from its evil, we shall confess our wickedness and ask that the righteousness of Christ substitutes it.
c. The Belt of truth: it represent the protection of our emotions, we ask that we kept fixed with the truth of God without any disturbances from our personal emotions or Satan’s effects upon our emotions.
d. The shoes of the preparation of the Gospel of peace: it represents our preparation to take the Gospel to every lost person.
e. The Shield of faith: this weapon is for advancing not retreat; we win the war in prayer by faith which wards off all the fiery darts of Satan.
f. The Sword of the spirit which is the word of God: this weapon performs perfectly with the shield of faith; when you come to Satan’s territory and declare in prayer by faith the promises of God (in his word) to be true. This ensures a defeat for Satan.
Practice of prayer for missions
When God want to do something on earth he stir up His people to pray for it, so every local Church should have a prayer meeting, which is not only concerned with praying for the Church‟s activities, but also with praying for the lost everywhere, and for a world revival.
God is waiting for intercessors who pray that His Spirit would be poured upon every person in the world; and that His Gospel should be preached to every human, so that His promise comes to reality.
Chapter 10 – Mission Accomplished
As we have seen from the beginning that God intended to establish His kingdom. He wanted man to get involved, Israel failed but Jesus succeeded, he came to the world announcing the Kingdom of God.
Jesus had given His Church (us) the same mission and every time we witness to someone and he accept the Gospel we are participating in God‟s mission.
When we read through the book of Revelation of John; we must catch the vision of this revelation as God intended; it is:‟ The final victory of God despite of all the crafty plans of the evil‟. If we catch that vision we will never be the same, we will be eagerly witnessing to every man in every nation before our generation will pass away.
God wants us to be a nation of priests and kings; to reign with Him when He returns, but this will never happen until we participate now in the rise of the kingdom and its struggles.
God’s will and the Nations
God wills that people of all nations will be saved not to perish (2Peter 3:9-10), on the other hand it is clear that His anger is declared upon the evil deeds of men.
For this reason the Church is obligated to stand and to declare all the truth about both the mercy and hope of God declared only in Jesus Christ, and the anger of God declared on the judgment day
Possibilities of This Age
God is interfering in the affairs of men of different nations, and that He is not just watching the Church obeying His commands by evangelizing the world, but he is aiding and working with the Church all the time since the Pentecost.
The people in India and Latin America and from different nations that seemed to be resisting the Gospel in the past are more easily convinced today to accept it, and that of course is not due to missions‟ works alone, but due to the interfering of the hand of God.
„Jesus our Lord is coming soon’ this statement or title should be in front of our eyes all the time as we go and evangelize the world, it was the secret of motivation for the first century Church and it should be to us too till the mission is accomplished by His return.
Understanding the book
The author of the book is a missionary, and he aim from writing his book that everyone who read this book will be challenged to play his role in God‟s mission. In doing so, the author started with a brief Introduction that explains the aim and synopsis of the book, defining important terms, and clearing some critical misconception about mission.
Starting from the first chapter the author used an illustrative opening in the beginning of each chapter, and this is a very practical and living method of explanation which gave some kind of an exciting impression to the chapters of the book.
In the first chapter the author tried to answer the question of why the world needs God‟s mission. He went on explaining the nature of God, man, and Satan in order to answer this question.
In the second chapter the author wrote about the partnership of man in God‟s mission, and God‟s role for His people.
The third chapter the author well explained the mission of Christ on earth; he used one important passage in the Bible and that is (Phil. 2:6-8) which explains the incarnation of Jesus, and how he had chosen to lay aside his divine powers and authority and glory and to face life as a man, and then the author continued explaining the mission of Jesus through His Crucifixion and Resurrection. What I liked best in this chapter is that the author did not explain the mission of Christ as only His Crucifixion as many did and still do, but he illustrated the whole picture of Jesus‟ mission that had started with His Incarnation.
The fourth chapter emphasizes on the role of the Holy Spirit as inspirer and administrator of missions, therefore Christians‟ need to be filled continuously with the Holy Spirit is an essential need to accomplish God‟s mission, introducing his personal testimony of being filled with the Spirit.
In the fifth chapter the author moved from the Holy Spirit role to the Church role, explaining not only the privileges of the Church but also its responsibilities as God‟s inherited people.
Chapter six was a long chapter dealing with discipleship and its relation to mission, and how making disciples was Jesus’ method to save the world.
In chapter seven the author tried to make clear the real role of leaders in the Church, and to refute the wrong principle of Clergy/Laity distinctiveness in the Church.
In chapter eight again the author emphasized on the previous principle that the work of ministry is not for leaders but for all Christians, he also discussed the gifts and talents of Christians which enable them to participate in God‟s mission.
Finally the author at the last two chapters of his book continued to explain the role of God‟s people in God‟s mission through prayer war, and evangelization of the needy nations of the world.
Positive Effects and agreements
In chapter four, page 25, about Harry Boer’s illustration of the motivation created inside Christians by the filling of the Holy Spirit to witness to others. It was unusual and an expressive idea to me when he compared the sexual desire in humans to make love and to have children with the serving desire in Christians to witness and to serve God.
In chapter four the author explained clearly the role of the Holy Spirit during witnessing and I agree with his opinion in this issue; for the Spirit filled believer do not witness alone but the Holy Spirit in the believer gives him a power to influence the sinner that he is witnessing to, and also the Holy Spirit works within the sinner‟s heart to „awakens the Sin Saturated Soul to the Need of Salvation as He did with the Philippian Jailer Acts 16:29-31 ’9.
The issue of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the mission field; concerning the fact that the Holy spirit had more difficulty in making Peter ready to preach the gospel to Cornelius (the Gentile) than the difficulty the Spirit had with Cornelius himself (Act.10), have touched my heart as I find it true in my ministry and life today as I serve in a Muslim country, and many times the Holy Spirit faces more difficulty with me to obey and witness to Muslims more than with some Muslims who are in many cases eager to hear about Jesus.
I was amazed by what the author wrote about the Church in chapter five; explaining Eph.1:18 and Deut. 32:9 that the Church is the portion or inheritance of God, and God will inherit something in us, it was the first time to perceive this truth and it gives me great hope.
What the author mentioned in chapter six about baptism as the second participle in (Matthew 28:19) and its importance as an essential relation with true discipline for Christ was impressive to me; as I always thought baptism is important but this truth from the bible really highlighted my thought about baptism and its essentiality to the Christian faith and true discipleship.
Under the headline of „Possibilities of this age’ in the last chapter of the book the author wrote about God interfering in the affairs of men of different nations, and that He is not just watching us evangelizing the world, but he is helping us and working with us all the time.
9 Stanford E.Murrell, A Foundation For Faith, Introductory Study of Systematic Theology, http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/An%20Introductory%20Study%20of%20Systematic%20Theology.pdf, 1998, P180.
The author mentioned the people in India and Latin America, I agree with the author in this point and I would like to mention too the Middle East, as this region seemed to be anti-Christian; and Gospel-resistible, but during the last few years many had believed in Christ and had been converted, I meet some of them and I evangelized to some; and I can say God is working and preparing their hearts to be ready for the Gospel, and their different aspects of life, otherwise they would never let me or other evangelical Christians in this region live till today.
Negative Effects and disagreements
In the introduction of the book, page 4 the author mentioned in his introduction that man took the side of Satan in the conflict between God and Satan on earth, I disagree with the author in the way he had expressed the fall of man; because I think that man was a victim of Satan and he did not even realize who Satan was; or that there is a conflict between God and Satan. Man was tempted by Satan and he disobeyed the command of God not because he had chosen to follow Satan in his conflict with God, but he was rather tricked by Satan and doubted the integrity of God‟s word10
The last purpose of God‟s mission founded in the book in chapter one, page 9 which is ‘To display the wisdom of God to the evil powers‟; the author interpreted “the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” in the verse (Eph. 3:10) as evil powers or Satan’s evil angels, but the verse could be better interpreted as the “the angelic hosts – the intelligent beings that surround the throne of God” as mentioned in Barnes’s commentary11, and as John Gill mentioned that this rather meant good angels than civil governors or evil angels12 or even if we interpreted the verse according to Bob Utely who wrote that this term is to “refer to the angelic levels of authority, both good and evil” 13.
Therefore we then rather say that God‟s people become responsible for the demonstration of God‟s wisdom to the ranks of the good angels, or both good and evil angels, but not for the evil angels alone as the author suggested.
In chapter two, page 11 the author wrote that after Babel God „was forced to divide man into races’; actually what the author wrote here get me surprised and angry because this contradicts the famous theological concept the author had mentioned before about the Sovereignty of God, for God possesses and exercise the absolute authority rule and government14 over all created
10 Barry E. Horner, Bible 101 Introduction, http://www.ntslibrary.com/StudentMaster/introtobiblestudymethods.php, P.90.
11 Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, http://www.e-sword.net, Version 7.9.8, (2008).
12 John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, http://www.e-sword.net, Version 7.9.8, (2008).
13 Bob Utley, Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison, http://www.freebiblecommentary.org, VOl08pdf, P106.
14 John Murray, The Sovereignty of God by John Murray, http://www.ntslibrary.com/Online-Library-The-Sovereignty-of-God-by-John-Murray.htm
things and all circumstances; He can do all he wills and wishes, and cannot be forced to do anything by any circumstances made by humans, for this would mean that He is not God.
In chapter two, page 18; speaking about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and that Christ died for the whole world and that everyman has the right to choose salvation contradicts with what the author previously stated about his believes in the election doctrine, and also the verses that the author provided to support his view was not convincing to me, as he had mentioned (2Cor.5:19) and (Rom. 5:9), and both don‟t prove that Christ died for the whole world; I rather think that Christ had died for His people not for the whole world; but we rather say that His death was sufficient for the whole world, but efficient only for His elected people15 given to Him by the father (John 17:6-9; 6:44).
He cannot die equally for both the believers and non-believers, or this will mean that His sacrifice for the non-believers is in vain, and nothing in the purpose of God is in vain.
The author while witnessing his personal testimony of being filled by the Holy Spirit for the first time; he mentioned that he had accepted the filling of the Holy Spirit by faith without any outward sign or manifestation, I disagree with this testimony as it contradicts what the Bible teaches about the filling of the Holy Spirit, for every time in the New Testament the Bible mentioned Christians being filled with the Spirit; it also mention some kind of manifestation to accompany that filling, I will mention here three Biblical occasions which support my argument:
– The 120 disciples were speaking in tongues when filled with the Holy Spirit (Act. 2:4).
– Simon had seen some unusual manifestation probably speaking or praying in tongues happening to the filled Samaritans (Act. 8:16-18).
– Cornelius and his family spoke in tongues and magnified God so that the circumcised Christians who were with Peter were amazed (Act 10).
In chapter six, page 38, the author wrote:‟ The Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead’ and this is not a correct theological statement, because we cannot say „part of’ as the Holy Spirit is the third person of the God head, or a person of the God head, but not a part of the God head which gives a dividing impression, because the God head is not divided to separate parts, therefore it is not an accurate statement to be mentioned, and is considered in my opinion a fatal theological mistake.
15 Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology- Volume II, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge/theology2.html, (Grand Rapids MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2005), p400.
We should understand mission as the total redemptive purpose of God to establish His own Kingdom; therefore it is not an invention that Christians had invented in order to spread their religion, or a human religious activity that the Western Church is practicing to spread the Western religion and culture, but it belong to God He had started it with the first Adam at Eden and He will accomplish it by the return of Jesus the Last Adam at new Jerusalem.
God is all powerful, unlimited in Love and purposes; He can accomplish His mission to the world alone without any human aid or interfere, but because of His love to us (elected Christians) he had chosen to limit himself to a certain limit so as to give us a chance to participate in His mission, what a privilege we are given and what a responsibility and obligation too.
If we want to work with God in His mission, we got to realize God‟s three main purposes of mission, and they are:
1. To bring glory to God.
2. To share the good news with non Christians.
3. To display the wisdom of God to the Angelic authorities both the good and the evil principalities (Eph. 3:10).
Christians shouldn‟t view their election as favoritism and as a blessing which they are giving only to enjoy, but they should rather view it as a call from God to be involved in reestablishing His kingdom and elect others; it is a call for service and associated with a new covenant of love and grace from God to them in Jesus and through them to the world.
The resurrection of Jesus was the cornerstone of the Gospel preached in the first century, same to us today we must restore this principle; and not to place another cornerstone at the center of the Gospel that we preach other than the resurrection (like for example blessing or love), because the resurrection is the good news of life and victory over sin, death and Satan.
Our Gospel is different from other religions which give unsecured and uncertain ideas about God and salvation, it is our duty therefore to proclaim the Gospel and to declare; the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ the one and only savior to every man.
God‟s mission cannot be carried out by our human abilities; we Christians must stop depending on ourselves and our resources, wisdom and buildings, we need the Holy Spirit to guide and to empower us, in other words we need to appropriate the Pentecost power of the Holy Spirit inorder to stand in the face of Satan and his principalities, and to do the required job of missions, we need to be filled continuously with the Holy Spirit in order to succeed in our missions.
We Christians must follow our master Jesus in serving the people; we should empty ourselves from any glory power or honor in order to be true servants of God; it is not a temporary state as some think, but it is the incarnation principle of ministry that Jesus used to minister (see (Phil.2:5-14).
We must not give up hope for the Church; despite all its failures, because God has chosen the Church to be His inheritance (Eph.1:18) to accomplish His mission through it.
Today we use other modern ways of evangelization, like revival meetings, and sending few missionaries to other countries. In fact these are good strategies but are not enough for the enormous task that we have:‟ Taking the Gospel to every man’, we need to adopt again the disciple-making strategy for it is the only multiplying way which can be successful in reaching our overpopulated world with the gospel, also it is God‟s way who intended that Christians become disciples of Christ not only converts.
We Christians are not called to be only audiences in the Church or to watch our leaders doing the work of ministry while we support them, but as the bible says we are all called for ministry everyone of us has a single gift at least that he can use in ministry, so we got not to be lazy and also not to expect much from our leaders who are called to train and equip us- not to do the ministry alone or in our behalf- for doing our work; that we are called to do in order to fulfill God‟s strategy to discipline the world.
Some evangelical Christians think that baptism is not an important issue in the Christian faith, and as long as we are saved by faith they think that that baptism is some kind of a Catholic heritage that evangelicals should not consider as an essential issue-as I thought before- but by reading what Jesus said about baptism in Mathew 28, and by regarding what the apostolic Church practiced in the book of Acts; we can discover that the case of baptism was an essential case for the Christian testimony and as Derickson wrote: „ it is the public testimony by which a new believer identifies with the universal and local church’16 so it is essential for a Christian who confess that Christ is his Lord to be baptized after his believe.
16 Stanley L. Derickson, DERECKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY, http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Derickson’s%20Notes%20on%20Theology.pdf, (AGES software. Albany, OR USA Digital Version1.0), 1997, P.1134.
Prayer is not involving God in our missions and problems in order that He may listen and interfere to help us, but it is rather centered on God and His will, we must pray according to His will not ours, Christians must understand that prayer is getting involved with God‟s plans and not vice versa in order to pray according to His will. It is all about Him and His mission not us.
We Christians are in the state of war with Satan and his spiritual kingdom, therefore it is important to know how to fight in this kind of war and what are the parts of the spiritual armor mentioned in the epistle to the Ephesians, and how to use them.
This spiritual armor is essential in standing against Satan in prayer, because Satan uses his tricks to attack us especially in prayer, so every Christian must learn all about the parts of the spiritual armor and how to use them in prayer or he will be defeated easily in this spiritual war.
Anonymous. The American Standard Version of the Holy Bible. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bible/asv.htm, 1901.
Barnes Albert. Albert Barnes‟ Notes on the Bible. http://www.e-sword.net. Version 7.9.8, 2008.
Derickson L. Stanley. DERECKSON‟S NOTES ON THEOLOGY. http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Derickson’s%20Notes%20on%20Theology.pdf. AGES software. Albany, OR USA Digital Version1.0, 1997.
Easton M.G. Eastons Bible Dictionary. http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/Eastons%20Bible%20Dictionary.pdf. USA: AGES Software, 1996, 1997.
Gibson Jonathan. The Story of a Kingdom. http://www.ntslibrary.com/Christian-PDF-Books.htm. Jonathan Gibson, 2005.
Gill John. John Gill‟s Exposition of the Entire Bible. http://www.e-sword.net. Version 7.9.8, 2008.
Hodge Charles. Systematic Theology- Volume II. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/hodge/theology2.html. Grand Rapids MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2005.
Hany N. Sadik 22 2/10/2009
Horner E. Barry. Bible 101 Introduction. http://www.ntslibrary.com/StudentMaster/introtobiblestudymethods.php.
Murray John. The Sovereignty of God by John Murray. http://www.ntslibrary.com/Online-Library-The-Sovereignty-of-God-by-John-Murray.htm.
Murrell E. Stanford. A Foundation For Faith, Introductory Study of Systematic Theology. http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/An%20Introductory%20Study%20of%20Systematic%20Theology.pdf, 1998.
Schaff Philip. HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Vol.2, Ch.04, 1883. http://www.e-sword.net. Version 7.9.8, 2008.
Torrey, A. C. Dixon and others. THE FUNDAMENTALS-A TESTAMONY TO THE TRUTH, VOL.2. http://ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books%20II/Torrey%20-%20The%20Fundamentals%202.pdf. AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version1.0, 2000.
Utley Bob. Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison, http://www.freebiblecommentary.org, VOl08pdf.
Willis T. Avery T. The Biblical Bases of missions. http://www.ntslibrary.com/StudentMaster/introtomissions.php.